Basic Mobile Web Design Tips

mobile

Majority of the people have a smartphone of soon it will outnumber even computers and laptops one day.  Mobile is one of the biggest markets for any company to look into for marketing.  Walk around and what do you see?  People browsing on their phones.  Phones are becoming more prominent in society and now a regular item paired with your wallet and keys.

Marketing and building a mobile site seems like a no-brainer, but many are still lacking on the fact of creating an optimal site for the mobile user.  Some hope their website will translate into mobile well, while others have revamped their whole site to be optimized for various mobile devices.  Here are some ways to make sure you are keeping up with those on the mobile space.

Understanding the Mobile Mentality

Mobile Browsing On The RunMobile browsers are completely different to those who browse at home or at a coffee shop.  Searching and browsing at home or in another area is more relaxing and time consuming.  The ability to sit down already indicates you may be there for some time.

Mobile on the other hand have people not only sitting down (for shorter periods of time), but they are also standing up or “on-the-go”.  No matter where they are, say on public transport or sitting in the car, but the fact of the matter is, they are in a zone where time is short.

Mobile is not something people drag out to do on their phones or tablets, unless it was Candy Crush or some ridiculously addicting game.  Mobile users usually browse to search for something as well.  They have more of a purpose than those sitting behind a desktop or a laptop.  They can’t be tied down by other distractions and your mobile web design needs to reflect that image somehow.

Design with the ideal “mobile first”

Designing a website is easy compared to building a mobile webpage.  If you are starting both a website for both desktop and mobile, start with mobile first.  Unlike the desktop, mobile has a lot of limitations.  The limitations are really apparent when it comes to size.  The size of the phone or tablet is always going to be smaller compared to a monitor for a desktop or laptop.  Already have a website, but trying to transform it into a mobile site?  There are a couple of ways doing that.

Either if you are starting off or already have a website, translating it to a mobile device is difficult.  There are two sure-fire ways to deliver your content on any mobile device with little or no problems at all.  The first is purchasing or designing a “responsive” template for your website.  Responsive design will automatically have the website fluidly change from mobile to desktop formats.  There are a few small hiccups such as longer loading for certain pages and some content may not completely translate from desktop to mobile (or vice-versa).  Overall, the responsive design is the easiest and the most recommended way of delivering your content on all platforms.

The second option is purchasing a .mobi site.  Recreating the original webpage for mobile devices will add to the time and resources to do so, but allows content and pages to load faster.  Since .mobi sites are much faster, taking care of two of the same websites can be a pain and a chore to do.

There is a third option, but depending on what your budget is and your main goal, it may not be a viable option.  Creating an app is the third option.  An app can allow you to be more specific for your users.  But, there are some drawbacks.  Creating a whole new app takes a lot of time and resources.  Search engines cannot index apps and less traffic will reach your content.  The idea of downloading and installing software can also deter many future visitors and hurt your overall numbers.  The worst part of it all is, those with apps already have some sort of website and in the end your app may not even matter.  Make sure creating an app is part of the whole mobile experience before wasting tens of thousands of dollars and a lot of time creating an app.

Mobile has a lot of restrictions unlike the desktop, especially when it comes to space and time.  However, mobile has unique features desktops don’t have.  “Click-to-call” or links that directly navigate users to your store are some of the things mobile users can easily take advantage than those at home.  Mobile users want quick information.  Desktop users can browse and spend time.  Choose your options as time and money can easily influence what direction you may head for when it comes to creating a mobile webpage.

Content layout and keeping it simple.  And then simplify some more.  Ok, maybe a little bit more.

First things first, concentrate on the main things you are either selling or providing to the customer.  Are you a news agency?  Maybe a clothing store?  What about food services?  Whatever your business is, the main brand should be highlighted as loud as the standard webpage.

Content should be short and sweet.  Smartphones is definitely something many would not use to read a newspaper.  Also, many mobile users are on the go and the attention span is shorten thanks to that fact.  Overstuffing the mobile site will not only make things a lot harder to search and navigate, but also make the site very unappealing and others will easily move onto other sites.

The best mobile sites are visually appealing and everything is basically simplified for users to search and navigate to find what they want.

Give users the options to easily switch back and forth from the original website and the mobile site.  A lot of people still look forward to using the standard site, since they know where and what to look for.  Not allowing your users to do this will cause others to browsing your mobile site while they’re on the go.

Test. Then test again.  Why not test some more?

Testing a website constantly allows developers to make sure there are no bugs running around in coding.  Without testing, the site will just end up in failure and you’ll have wasted precious time and resources on something that never even got a chance to get off the ground.

Also making sure the site works out on all platforms and for each version of each platform.  iOS and Android are the two main mobile OS, but Windows and RIMM also still float in the market as well.  Also, each version of the OS is still used in varying degrees.  If it doesn’t work for the earlier versions of Android, then you are skipping out on a large portion of your audience.

Mobile users can really increase the number of viewers and gain a bigger audience when done correctly.  It can help sustain the number of users as well, thus mobile is a no-brainer.  But the design is key to bringing people on board.  Don’t think mobile as a secondary option or a side-project.  Make it a main goal and the ROI becomes incredible.